A slow return to normal

I’m having a hard time writing which makes no sense to me. Here I sit, in my home, in air conditioning (WE HAVE POWER!!) with precious alone time, of which I had very little during the Irma experience. (And it was an experience.)

And yet. I don’t know what I want to say.

Do I want to write about how grateful I am for safe drinking water, cool air and hot food? (Very.)

Do I want to write about but there for the grace of God go I?

Do I want to write about how quickly chaos can return to normal but normal doesn’t quite feel right after the chaos? (But, but, did you just SEE what happened? Do you see what is still happening?)

Do I want to write about how my understanding of climate change and fossil fuel dependency shifted from a knowing of the head to the knowing of the heart? 

Do I want to write about community and love and civility in the midst of crisis?

I want to write about all the things but right now can’t seem to articulate any of them. The words will come. For now, I leave you with pictures from my walk yesterday with the dogs–the first “normal” walk since Irma came a knockin’, but as you can see from the pictures, things are still anything but normal.

(Photos taken 9/19/17:)

The non-native shrubs lining our neighborhood did not fare well
trees down every where you look
So many trees uprooted (and people, too)
A lot of devastation at the lake near our home. The lake is still flooded (the water in front should not be there). We have seen record-breaking rainfall this year.
There is a little blue heron in there. Can you find it?
Curbs lined with debris for pickup. 

One yellow crate

Really, it is all I need other than my husband, daughter and dogs.

The crate contains my wedding album, a photo from my grandmother I never met of her on her wedding day, the rosary my mother held in her nerve-damaged hands as she witnessed my marriage, and a few other precious keepsakes.

As I surveyed my house, taking photos that will serve as the “before” pictures in case of damage from Irma’s rain and wind, I’m surprised to find myself strangely liberated. The end tables, the stacks of political memoirs and bird identification books and computer programming manuals, the shoes that should have been replaced long ago, it can all be replaced. We will be okay no matter what unfolds.

What would you bring if you had to evacuate?* Would it fit in one yellow crate? I think you’d be surprised to discover that it would.

(*We aren’t under mandatory evacuation but we are most definitely in the “cone of danger” as a Southwest Florida resident. Stay safe one and all. Thank you to all the fire fighters and rescue crews who are sticking around to help others. You are true heroes.) 

Whatever makes your heart sing

I’m feeling a little rusty. It has been a long slog of a month, and quite a while since I’ve found myself in my most favorite of places: in front of my computer ready to write with coffee by my side (Cuban, my favorite) while my daughter hangs with Curious George cartoons.

Nothing like a disruption to routine and upheavals in your household to make you grateful for the little pleasures of life.

My wish for you today: a version of coffee+computer+cartoons. Whatever makes your heart sing.


To dust bunnies and mismatched stemware!

Today is party day!

As I have written before, I have been working on building a village. I am new to my neighborhood, my state (Florida), to parenthood, to all of it. It’s taking time but I’m happy to say that slowly, ever so slowly, we are finding community.

I am pretty sure my (deceased) mother is the one who put a bug in my ear that, hey, you should have a bbq/potluck! She even reminded me about the favorite sangria recipe of mine that she loved.

(Yes, I take party planning advice from my dead mother. Trust me, you would too if you had my mother at your disposal. She was a master party planner. Lots of lists, sometimes party themes (but never tacky or cheesy–just fun), and always a great spread of food.)

A lot has been written about the carefree moms of the 1980s. I would love to try to capture the fun, laid back spirit of the parties my parents had, even if just a teeny bit.

My awesome 1980s mom. That is me, eyeing a very non-pinteresty sort of cake.

This is harder than you would think. Last night my husband and I were shopping at Target to get some last minute items, and he said, “You know what we need? A shiny copper bucket to put ice in with all the drinks!”

They had them but they were kind of expensive. But then I turned to him and said, wait a minute. We don’t need this damn thing! You know what Keith and Diane would have used? A crummy old cooler that they pulled out of the garage and hosed down! 

Keith and Diane’s favorite beverage container. Try it, it works great!

When your husband, the man who has zero design sense, starts suggesting fancy copper bins to put ice and drinks into, you know you have found yourself squarely in the Pinterest-generation.

So guess what we will be using: a crummy old cooler from the garage. That’s right, there will be nothing instagrammable or pinterstery about this party.

[Disclosure: love me some Pinterest. Love being creative, love having fun craft ideas…but sometimes you just need to chill the heck out ammiright?]

Today I raise a glass to carefree, no hassle parties. To good-enough. To dust bunnies and mismatched stemware! To friends!

I’d write more but that lime kool-aid isn’t going to make itself.

p.s. This week I have been writing about my journey of healing that came after a period of loss, and more loss, and more loss. I will pick up the series next Monday because today, my friends, is party day!

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My Daughter’s Brand of Magic


It doesn’t seem to matter what stage my daughter is at. I often look at her with wonder and think, there is no way I will ever forget this.

But then she evolves and I struggle to remember. What exactly was she like at two years old? That other version of her fades away and the person who she is right now is front and center, stealing the show. Sure, I remember in broad strokes what she was like at two (there was a lot of climbing…) but the details of her brand of magic at that age seem so fuzzy.

Image source

Right now my daughter is 3 1/2. She still says “Lello” (yellow), yesterday asked for a “lollyplop” (aww!!) and would prefer being naked to anything else. I have a hunch this won’t last forever.

All I can do is stay present to it all. Soak in her little whispers (‘Mommy, let’s pretend to be an alligator and get daddy!’) and try not to laugh when she stands, pouting, arms crossed, imploring “I want a Pogistle (popsicle) right now!”

You now the old adage, this too shall pass? Well I tend to like that saying when life is craptastic. But when life is lovely and joyous and maketh my heart overfloweth, well, it seems more than a tad unfair. photo-1460176449511-ff5fc8e64c35.jpeg

Nevermind. This version of her magic will blend in the background when the new one emerges. And I certainly wouldn’t want to miss that.

Do you have any tricks for remembering the magic?  Please feel free to share below or on Twitter orFacebook.





In praise of the ordinary

Image source.

The three-year-old who wants a ganilla (granola) bar, and as she eats it, occasionally walks over to silently spit the almonds into my hand.

The now-cold coffee, abandoned after chasing around the three-year-old who is spraying water into the air with glee.

The mail, the coupons, the unread newspaper. The unwashed clothes. The dogs whose nails need to be trimmed. The sweet crowing of a bird out back.

These moments that are so ordinary. You can almost miss them. Sometimes I am bored in them, sometimes I want to hurry them.

Today, I am choosing to sit with my cold coffee and smile.

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